Friday Poetry: Matilda: Who Told Lies, and was Burned to Death by Hillaire Belloc


Happy Friday! My apologies for my absence recently, a combination of assignment deadlines and feeling rather rough after my first Covid vaccine meant the blog suffered but I am back now.

My chosen poem today is basically a retelling of Aesop’s fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Matilda: Who Told Lies, and was Burned to Death 

Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one's Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not She
Discovered this Infirmity.
For once, towards the Close of Day,
Matilda, growing tired of play,
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the Telephone
And summoned the Immediate Aid
Of London's Noble Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the Gallant Band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs, and Bow.
With Courage high and Hearts a-glow,
They galloped, roaring through the Town,
'Matilda's House is Burning Down!'
Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the Ball Room Floor;
And took Peculiar Pains to Souse
The Pictures up and down the House,
Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed;
And even then she had to pay
To get the Men to go away,      
It happened that a few Weeks later
Her Aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that Interesting Play
The Second Mrs. Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her Niece
To hear this Entertaining Piece:
A Deprivation Just and Wise
To Punish her for Telling Lies.
That Night a Fire did break out--
You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To People passing in the Street--
(The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidence) -- but all in vain!
For every time she shouted 'Fire!'
They only answered 'Little Liar!'
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were Burned.

Hillaire Belloc

Happy Reading

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Friday Poetry: A. A. Milne

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has some exciting weekend plans. I chose this poem for today because it made me smile and hope it makes you smile.

Buckingham Palace

They're changing the guard at Buckingham Palace-
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
'A soldier's life is terrible hard,'
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace-
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We saw a guard in a sentry-box.
'One of the sergeants looks after their socks,'
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace-
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We looked for the King, but he never came.
'Well, God take care of him, all the same,'
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace-
Christopher Robin went down with Alice,
They've great big parties inside the grounds.
'I wouldn't be King for a hundred pounds,'
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace-
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
A face looked out, but it wasn't the King's.
'He's much too busy a -signing things,'
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace-
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
'Do you think the King knows all about me?'
'Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea,'
Says Alice.

A. A. Milne
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Friday Poetry: Robert Herrick


Apologies for the lateness of the post, I forgot to schedule it and today I have spent all day studying. Anyway I have gone for a poem for May as it is May tomorrow and the May bank holiday weekend. I hope you all have some good plans for the bank holiday. The poem is by Robert Herrick.

Corinna's Going A Maying

Get up, get up for shame, the Blooming Morne 
Upon her wings presents the god unshorne. 
                     See how Aurora throwes her faire 
                     Fresh-quilted colours through the aire: 
                     Get up, sweet-Slug-a-bed, and see 
                     The Dew-bespangling Herbe and Tree. 
Each Flower has wept, and bow'd toward the East, 
Above an houre since; yet you not drest, 
                     Nay! not so much as out of bed? 
                     When all the Birds have Mattens seyd, 
                     And sung their thankful Hymnes: 'tis sin, 
                     Nay, profanation to keep in, 
When as a thousand Virgins on this day, 
Spring, sooner than the Lark, to fetch in May. 

Rise; and put on your Foliage, and be seene 
To come forth, like the Spring-time, fresh and greene; 
                     And sweet as Flora. Take no care 
                     For Jewels for your Gowne, or Haire: 
                     Feare not; the leaves will strew 
                     Gemms in abundance upon you: 
Besides, the childhood of the Day has kept, 
Against you come, some Orient Pearls unwept: 
                     Come, and receive them while the light 
                     Hangs on the Dew-locks of the night: 
                     And Titan on the Eastern hill 
                     Retires himselfe, or else stands still 
Till you come forth. Wash, dresse, be briefe in praying: 
Few Beads are best, when once we goe a Maying. 

Come, my Corinna, come; and comming, marke 
How each field turns a street; each street a Parke 
                     Made green, and trimm'd with trees: see how 
                     Devotion gives each House a Bough, 
                     Or Branch: Each Porch, each doore, ere this, 
                     An Arke a Tabernacle is 
Made up of white-thorn neatly enterwove; 
As if here were those cooler shades of love. 
                     Can such delights be in the street, 
                     And open fields, and we not see't? 
                     Come, we'll abroad; and let's obay 
                     The Proclamation made for May: 
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying; 
But my Corinna, come, let's goe a Maying. 

There's not a budding Boy, or Girle, this day, 
But is got up, and gone to bring in May. 
                     A deale of Youth, ere this, is come 
                     Back, and with White-thorn laden home. 
                     Some have dispatcht their Cakes and Creame, 
                     Before that we have left to dreame: 
And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted Troth, 
And chose their Priest, ere we can cast off sloth: 
                     Many a green-gown has been given; 
                     Many a kisse, both odde and even: 
                     Many a glance too has been sent 
                     From out the eye, Loves Firmament: 
Many a jest told of the Keyes betraying 
This night, and Locks pickt, yet w'are not a Maying. 

Come, let us goe, while we are in our prime; 
And take the harmlesse follie of the time. 
                     We shall grow old apace, and die 
                     Before we know our liberty. 
                     Our life is short; and our dayes run 
                     As fast away as do's the Sunne: 
And as a vapour, or a drop of raine 
Once lost, can ne'r be found againe: 
                     So when or you or I are made 
                     A fable, song, or fleeting shade; 
                     All love, all liking, all delight 
                     Lies drown'd with us in endlesse night. 
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying; 
Come, my Corinna, come, let's goe a Maying.

Robert Herrick

Happy Reading.

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Friday Poetry: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has had a good week and that you all have good plans for the weekend.

My chosen poem this week is by Christina Rossetti’s brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

The Woodspurge

The wind flapped loose, the wind was still,
Shaken out dead from tree and hill:
I had walked on at the wind's will, -
I sat now, for the wind was still.

Between my knees my forehead was, -
My lips, drawn in, said not Alas!
My hair was over in the grass,
My naked ears heard the day pass.

My eyes, wide open, had the run
Of some ten weeds to fix upon;
Among those few, out of the sun,
The woodspurge flowered, three cups in one.

From perfect grief there need not be
Wisdom or even memory:
One thing then learnt remains to me, -
The woodspurge has a cup of three.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Happy Reading

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Friday Poetry: W. B. Yeats


I hope everyone has fun plans for the weekend.

My chosen poem this week is by William Butler Yeats who won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

The Song of Wandering Aengus

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name;
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples or the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

W. B. Yeats

Happy Reading

Friday Poetry: William Watson

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend. I must admit I haven’t managed much reading recently because I have been reading endless chapters and articles about the importance of Roman dress and the significance of the the toga. I’m really enjoying all the research but I am missing my fun reading.

My chosen poem this week is by William Watson (1858-1935) was an English poet who wasn’t afraid to write what he thought.

The poem is The Ballad of Semmerwater, Semmerwater is more commonly spelt ‘Semerwater’ and is one of the largest lakes in Yorkshire. Semerwater has also been the home of many poets over the centuries.

The Ballad of Semmerwater

Deep asleep, deep asleep,
Deep asleep it lies,
The still lake of Semmerwater,
Under the still skies.

And many a fathom, many a fathom,
Many a fathom below,
In a king's tower and a queen's bower
The fishes come and go.

Once there stood by Semmerwater
A mickle town and tall;
King's tower and queen's bower,
And the wakeman on the wall.

Came a beggar halt and sore:
'I faint for lack of bread.'
King's tower and queen's bower
Cast him forth unfed.

He knocked at the door of the herdsman's cot,
The herdsman's cot in the dale.
They gave him of their oat-cake,
They gave him of their ale.

He cursed aloud the city proud,
He cursed it in its pride;
He cursed it into Semmerwater
Down the brant hillside;
He cursed it into Semmerwater,
There to bide.

King's tower and queen's bower,
And a mickle town and tall;
By glimmer of scale and gleam of fin,
Folk have seen them all.

King's tower and queen's bower,
And weed and reed in the gloom,
And a lost city in Semmerwater
Deep asleep till Doom.

William Watson

Friday Poetry: Robert Browning


I hope everyone has a good Easter weekend planned with a lot of Easter eggs and yummy food involved.

My chosen poem this week is by Robert Browning who wrote this poem whilst he was travelling around Italy in 1845. Browning was writing about his nostalgia for England.

Home-Thoughts from Abroad

Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent spray's edge -
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
- Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

Robert Browning

Happy Reading

Friday Poetry: Thomas Hood

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has some good plans for the weekend.

My chosen poem this week is by Thomas Hood who was a Victorian poet.

I Remember, I Remember

I remember, I remember 
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!

I remember, I remember,
The roses, red and white,
The violets, and the lily-cups,
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday, -
The tree is living yet! 

I remember, I remember
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!

I remember, I remember
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm farther off from heav'n
Than when I was a boy.

Thomas Hood

Happy Reading

Friday Poetry: Robert Herrick

Happy Friday!

I hope you all have some good weekend plans. I have been doing lots of reading for my dissertation prep and I think I am beginning to get an idea on what to do.

My chosen poem today is by Robert Herrick who was a seventeenth-century ‘Cavalier Poet’. The Cavalier poets were named this because they supported King Charles during the English Civil War. Herrick wrote over 2000 poems during his lifetime.

To Daffodils

Fair daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain'd his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the evensong;
And, having prayed together, we
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
We die,
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer's rain;
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again.

Robert Herrick

Happy Reading

Friday Poetry: George Hare Leonard


Happy Friday! I hope everyone has some good bookish plans for the weekend. As this Sunday is Mothering Sunday in the UK, I have chosen a suitable poem, well actually it is a hymn but I rather like it.

This hymn is by George Hare Leonard (1863-1941) who was a Professor of Modern History at the University of Bristol.

In the past servants were allowed to take the day off to see their mothers and go to church on Mothering Sunday. They would take cakes and treats and the special wheaten cake for their mothers.

Mothering Sunday

It is the day of all the year,
Of all the year the one day,
When I shall see my Mother dear
And bring her cheer,
A-Mothering on Sunday.

And now to fetch my wheaten cake,
To fetch it from the baker,
He promised me, for Mother's sake,
The best he'd bake
For me to fetch and take her.

Well have I known, as I went by
One hollow lane, that none day
I'd fail to find - for all they're shy -
Where violets lie,
As I went home on Sunday.

My sister Jane is waiting-maid
Along with Squire's lady;
And year by year her part she's played,
And home she stayed
To get the dinner ready.

For Mother'll come to Church, you'll see - 
Of all the year it's the day -
'The one,' she'll say, 'that's made for me.'
And so it be:
It's every Mother's free day.

The boys will all come home from town,
Not one will miss that one day;
And every maid will bustle down
To show her gown,
A-Mothering on Sunday.

It is the day of all the year,
Of all the year the one day;
And here come I, my Mother dear,
And bring you cheer,
A-Mothering on Sunday.

George Hare Leonard

Happy Reading